The week before the Boundary Trail ride in 2006, we rode Ape Canyon and then dropped down to hit Blue Lake to the Kalama Horse Camp. About 500 yards from the Horse Camp, my Liquid suffered a compound fracture. Larsen tried to fix it with electrical tape – but to no avail.
Trek couldn’t get me a new frame in time and I was desperate for a bike. Jeff Byman came through with a Gary Fisher 293, the first 29 I’d ever ridden. The 293 performed well and I survived an epic adventure. I liked it so much, I bought the 292 I’ve ridden ever since.
Looks like I will have a chance to see if the magic comes around again.
Last weekend, I asked Jeff Muldoon to go through my 292 before next week’s 60 @ Sixty ride. He and Thomas Mueller found big-time play in the frame. At first, they thought new bushings would do the trick. Thomas made a call to the factory and arranged for express shipping so that he and Jeff could put the bike back together in short order. John Platt, who works for Trek, contacted a friend in Customer Service for advice and passed along directions for getting the most rapid service.
The feces hit the fan when Jeff took a closer look, discovered two fatal cracks in the frame and broke the news that the old girl would have to be put down.
How could this happen? I’d always treated the 292 with tender care, avoiding the bad stuff the other sick bastards ride and subjecting her to as little pain as possible.
I panicked. That bike had fit me perfectly. Now I was going to have to locate an emergency ride.
I considered a quick-strike purchase, but Thomas reminded me that it usually takes three or more rides to get things dialed in on a new bike. And I didn’t have time for dialing in.
Ryan McMaster immediately volunteered his Heckler. Two problems. First, that bike is burly; Ryan has the juice to pedal it sixty miles but I’m not sure that I do. Second, if I rode the Heckler, Ryan would be on my Niner. I shuddered to think what would be left of that poor thing after McMaster pounded it across all that rough terrain.
Jeff is putting on the grips, seat and pedals from my now deceased 292. I will take the Sultan for a test spin at Ape Canyon this weekend and, if things work out, ride it on the 23rd.
In the meantime, Jeff has already filed a warranty claim with Gary Fisher. Eventually, I might get a replacement frame.
Yes, it’s very cool that I get to ride a $6,000 bike. But here’s the best news – I have phenomenal friends.
Now all I need is a little luck for next Friday.